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Northern Territory Minister for Local Government Adam Giles

Animal Welfare Strengthened In The Territory

Victor P Taffa

Amendments to the Animal Welfare Act have now come into force to further improve animal welfare in the Territory.

Local Government Minister Adam Giles said today in Parliament that the amendments address recommendations of the Council of Territory Cooperation Animal Welfare Governance subcommittee (CTC) report which was developed in reaction to the bungled handling of the Mataranka Station cattle deaths.

In 2009 and 2010, between 124 and 800 cattle suffered agonising deaths caused by starvation at Charles Darwin University’s Mataranka Station.

No one involved in the cruelty was held accountable, because the former Labor Government failed to act before the statue of limitations had expired.

Mr. Giles said cruelty, neglect and mistreatment of animals is taken seriously and will not be tolerated by the Country Liberals Government.

“Some of these amendments go beyond the recommendations of the CTC report, and they have been introduced to further strengthen the Act and make it more effective.”

Amendments to the Act:

  • Introduces the concept of a minimum level of care that must be provided to an animal
  • Introduces three levels of offences (breach of the duty of care, cruelty to an animal and aggravated cruelty to an animal)
  • Extends the time limit for commencing proceedings under the Act from 12 months to two years
  • Provides greater penalties for offenders – the maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty will be 200 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years. (200 penalty units is currently $28,200).
  • Improves clarification of the roles, functions and power of the Animal Welfare Authority

“These amendments will result in an even stronger and more effective Animal Welfare Act and action on animal cruelty.” Mr. Giles said.

“If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare or suspect or witness cruelty to an animal, you can report it to the Animal Welfare Branch on 1300 720 386. All calls received by the Animal Welfare Unit are strictly confidential and you can remain anonymous.”

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